German Cinema

DEFA East German Cinema, 1946-1992, edited by Seán Allan and John Sandford

DEFA East German Cinema, 1946-1992 retraces the unique achievements and continued relevance of the East German national film studio, Deutsche Film-AG (DEFA), from its origins as a Soviet-assembled group of experienced postwar filmmakers called filmaktiv tasked to draft a plan to revive the German film industry, to the sale of the studio to the French… read more »

The Anarchy of the Imagination: Interviews, Essays, and Notes by Rainer Werner Fassbinder

The Anarchy of the Imagination is a compilation of interviews, essays, and notes by the talented, self-confident, and versatile provocateur filmmaker, Rainer Werner Fassbinder. Driven by an inexhaustible compulsion to entertain as well as provide social criticism, Fassbinder sought to elevate the role of contemporary German cinema. An avid cineaste, he developed his unorthodox approach… read more »

Everyone Else, 2009

The title of Maren Ade’s quietly observed film is subtly conveyed in passing, a desire expressed by uninhibited rock publicist, Gitti (Birgit Minichmayr) to her architect boyfriend, Chris (Lars Eidinger) that their relationship will not be reduced to the banal paradigm of being like “everyone else”. But romanticism soon collides with reality for the couple… read more »

Berlin Alexanderplatz, 1980

How does anyone begin to encapsulate the audacious, manic, insightful, resonant, humane, and allegorically loaded tone of the epic work – the quintessential “anarchy of the imagination” – that is Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s adaptation of Alfred Döblin’s nine book/thirteen chapter, Weimer Republic-era German Expressionist novel Berlin Alexanderplatz? Told from the perspective of an unemployed, hard-drinking,… read more »

The Third Generation, 1979

An early cursory comment that capitalists invented terrorism as a means of selling security (that, in turn, will safeguard their own survival) provides the trenchant context for Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s delirious and provocative satire, The Third Generation. Alluding to the emergence of a new generation of terrorists who, unlike their predecessors, lack a coherent agenda… read more »

The Marriage of Maria Braun, 1979

Maria Braun’s wedding day was anything but ordinary: a whirlwind two-week courtship, followed by a hurried marriage ceremony at the justice of the peace amid heavy Allied bombing during the final phase of World War II. Despite their union of “half a day and a whole night”, their marriage is not a transient consequence of… read more »

In a Year of 13 Moons, 1978

In a Year of 13 Moons opens to a curious image of an enigmatic figure – made exaggeratedly imposing by the isolated shot of the lumbering, awkward gait of ill-fitting industrial boots – unassuredly cruising a near empty tree-lined Frankfurt plaza at daybreak before catching the attention of a male prostitute who indiscreetly follows the… read more »

Mother Kusters Goes to Heaven, 1975

Mother Kusters Goes to Heaven opens to an portentous shot of a mechanized, tedious activity, as Emma Kusters (Brigitte Mira) and her son Ernst (Armin Meier) assemble small electrical appliances in silence at the kitchen table: snapping the mechanism to the case, tightening the sunken screws, packing the completed assemblies into a cardboard box. It… read more »

Ali: Fear Eats the Soul, 1974

A middle-aged cleaning woman named Emmi (Brigitte Mira) takes refuge from the storm and walks into a local German bar, straight into the territorial gaze of its predominantly Arabic patrons. It is one of the few places in town where foreigners are openly welcomed, where the owner populates the jukebox with Arabic music and occasionally… read more »